Wood Cabinets Damaged By Murphy's Oil Soap?

February 16, 2017

Damage caused by Murphy's Oil Soap on a wooden cabinet.I used Murphy's Oil Soap on my cherrywood cabinets. One was especially dirty around the knob on the cabinet door. I cleaned it multiple times to get the dirt off and now the finish looks bleached. How can I restore it?



Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
February 16, 20170 found this helpful
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From the photos, it more looks like the sort of moisture damage that comes from using something too wet on wood. Kind of like when you leave a glass and get a moisture ring.

The best cure I've come across for this (and I had some awful ones) is to put mayonnaise on it for 15 minutes, rub it in then take it out. After, take a 50 50 mix of water and baking soda and rub it on the area. Afterwards wipe it off. It looks amazing

Next time you use Murphy's oil soap just don't dilute it as much and should be fewer problems

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
February 21, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Murphys is famous for doing this to floors....What has probably happened is it has gotten thru the polyurethane on the cabinet door. (it happens to floors a lot as they are scratched easier from all the traffic).


You may have to sand it down and restain it and repoly it.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 16, 20170 found this helpful

I'm more inclined to think it was the tool you cleaned with that damaged the cabinet, not the soap.

Did you use steel wool or another abrasive item?

You can get some crayons to match your cabinet and cover the damage pretty well.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
February 21, 20170 found this helpful

I have found that Murphy's Oil Soap is an excellent product for cleaning most all types of wood but only if used exactly as directions specify. It is easy to make even little mistakes so do not feel bad or be discouraged as there are probably several ways to restore your cabinet finish.


That said - since Murphy's Oil Soap is such a very old and reliable company - they will answer your questions and they will probably have the best solution. Here is their web site where you can ask for help:

Here is also their web site that tells the "only" way to use their product:

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February 21, 20170 found this helpful

I agree that it has gone through to the wood.
What you're seeing is a circle of wear around your cabinet handles where your hand wears off some of the finish. That allowed the moisture to get down to the wood.


I would try a hair dryer on low heat or just not too close and see if you can dry it out a little before using any other product.

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June 8, 20180 found this helpful

Lynette I am curious to know what you did to make this better. I had the same problem around the same time and I just stopped cleaning the cabinets.
I am very unhappy with how it looks and I am ready to do something about it. Could you please help?

Thanks for any feedback.

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September 3, 20180 found this helpful

Learn from wood professionals. Here is an article on why you should never use Murphy's Oil on wood at all:

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September 9, 20220 found this helpful

I have seen the same thing happen on kitchen cabinets. Its not the oil soap that has damaged the finish. Over time the build up of oils and grime from peoples hands grabbing at the knob has softened the finish around the knob.


The oil soap has cleaned away dirt and left behind the softened and damaged finish. The only real solution is to refinish the faces of the drawers and cabinets.

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